Formula E goes virtual
Virtual racing gets another player as Formula E goes ‘online’ from this weekend.
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler drivers, Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi, will be back in action this weekend as Formula E racing gets underway once again, but in a virtual format.
17 April, 2020
The series will consist of nine rounds, and as with the real championship, will take in some of the most exotic locations around the world
Motorsport fans continue to be the winners during the COVID-19 global lockdown, with another online race series about to get underway. The all-electric Formula E series will take its competition online with the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge, and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler will be right in the thick of the action with Daniel Abt Lucas di Grassi taking to the virtual track.
The series will consist of nine rounds, and as with the real championship, will take in some of the most exotic locations around the world, including Hong Kong and Monaco. Only actual Formula E drivers will race (with a parallel competition for gamers), keeping the action as true to reality as possible. Each driver will be competing from their own home base, which for Daniel Abt means Kempten in Germany and for di Grassi, São Paulo in Brazil.
Both drivers are well versed in the use of simulators which are employed extensively in driver training in Formula E and as a means for the drivers to practice on circuits that are only constructed days or weeks ahead of races and cannot be accessed at any other time. Simulators are also present at each round of the series-proper and allow fans the opportunity to take on their heroes, but now it will be the drivers themselves taking on their peers in serious competition.
The first round gets underway with the streaming telecast from 11:30pm Saturday (18.4.20) AEST, and the race an hour later at 12:30am Sunday morning.
In the lead up for the drivers, preparations proceed at a frenetic pace, as each driver fine tunes their racing simulator at home. Perhaps not as intense as dialling in the race car, but no less serious for these ultra-competitive individuals and a task they must undertake without the the rest of their team to help.
“It used to be a toy, but now the home simulator is like my race car,” says Daniel Abt of his ‘virtual’ ride.
“So, now I’m a racing driver, mechanic and engineer all in one.” The German has already won an E-Race, which is always held on race day together with fans on simulators in the E-Village at the real Formula E circuits.
Lucas di Grassi, together with his family, withdrew from public life to a rural area close to São Paulo and returns to his hometown for the race days, where he can use a simulator.
“These are hard times for everyone right now. It’s great that we can now at least offer our fans a bit of action and fun with this idea from Formula E,” says Lucas di Grassi, who has been a UN ambassador for clean air since 2018.
So, now I’m a racing driver, mechanic and engineer all in one
On each lap, the last car drops out until only the top 10 remain to fight out the finish in a last lap sprint
“We will be giving everything to provide a good show and also doing something for a good cause at the same time – a perfect combination.”
Indeed, this virtual race serious will not just be run to entertain race fans, but will also be working with United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, to support the global campaign against Covid-19.
The basis for the series is the game rFactor2 while the rules and regulations for the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge are quite different to the regular Formula E regulations. Offering a simple, stripped down format, it sees a single lap in qualifying, before the drivers compete against each other in a so-called ‘Race Royale’.
On each lap, the last car drops out until only the top 10 remain, and then a final sprint for one final lap decides the points scoring positions.
Formula E will broadcast the kick-off of the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge live on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch and the official website www.fiaformulae.com
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